Colorado ultraviolet transit experiment data simulator

Aickara Gopinathan Sreejith, Luca Fossati, Brian T. Fleming, Kevin France, Tommi Koskinen, Arika Egan, Hannah T. Rüdisser, Manfred Steller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE) is a 6U NASA CubeSat carrying on board a low-resolution (R ~ 2000 to 3000), near-UV (2500 to 3300 Å) spectrograph. It has a rectangular primary Cassegrain telescope to maximize the collecting area. CUTE, which is planned for launch in spring 2020, is designed to monitor transiting extra-solar planets orbiting bright, nearby stars, aiming at improving our understanding of planet atmospheric escape and star-planet interaction processes. We present here the CUTE data simulator, which we complemented with a basic data reduction pipeline. This pipeline will be then updated once the final CUTE data reduction pipeline is developed. We show here the application of the simulator to the HD209458 system and a first estimate of the precision on the measurement of the transit depth as a function of temperature and magnitude of the host star. We also present estimates of the effect of spacecraft jitter on the final spectral resolution. The simulator has been developed considering also scalability and adaptability to other missions carrying on board a long-slit spectrograph. The data simulator will be used to inform the CUTE target selection, choose the spacecraft and instrument settings for each observation, and construct synthetic CUTE wavelength-dependent transit light curves on which to develop the CUTE data reduction pipeline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number018004
JournalJournal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • CCD
  • CubeSat
  • data simulator
  • exoplanet
  • ultraviolet spectrograph

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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